An In Depth Look At The Federal Firearms License

Status Of The Federal Firearms License In The United States.

Firearms were connected with 30,136 fatalities in the Us in 2003; of these, 11,920 were homicides. (1) For every firearm homicide, there are 4 individuals that suffer non-fatal firearm assaults. (2) Like many other person items in the US, the majority of guns are at first offered to everyone through a network of retail dealers. (3) Individuals in the business of offering firearms need to acquire a federal firearm dealer’s license. (4) There were greater than 54,000 federally certified gun dealers in the Us in 2005, though this reflects a seventy-eight percent decrease since 1994. (5) Some states additionally require a state license to offer firearms. For help getting your federal firearms license visit Often you are able to sell firearms from your home address.

Licensed firearm dealers are a very important source of guns for offenders and gun traffickers. In one analysis of gun trafficking inspections carried out by the Bureau of Liquor, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), certified dealers accounted for a plurality of all guns diverted to the prohibited market. (6) Persons by having a disqualifying criminal history are prohibited from buying or possessing firearms. (7) Yet some dealers are obviously willing to help in illegal sales or also sell straight to offenders. (8) A nationwide phone survey of retail gun dealers identified that more than fifty percent of the dealers were willing to make a “straw sale,” where one individual unlawfully purchases a gun wanted for another who is proscribed from possessing a firearm. (9)

A tiny percentage of all qualified dealers represent a bulk of the gun trafficking problem. In a 2000 ATF analysis, merely one percent of gun dealers sold more than half of all guns traced to crime. (10) The disproportionate supply of criminal offense guns by a tiny number of gun dealers can easily not be described entirely by high sales volume, spot criminal offense rates, or purchaser demographics. (11) However dealer sales practices and law enforcement oversight– unmeasured in previous researches– could describe a section of this variation.

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Get Your Federal Firearms License


Just recently, law enforcement in some towns has actually begun to more carefully inquire into the practices of some licensed dealers. In combination by having legal actions filed by the towns of Chicago, Detroit, and Gary, Indiana, police conducted undercover stings of gun dealers presumed of making illegal sales, leading to many arrests. In the Chicago spot, the stings were connected with a forty-six percent decrease in the movement of brand-new guns to criminals. (12) Likewise, following heightened law enforcement and public scrutiny, a sizable Milwaukee-area become a gun dealer announced that it would not offer Sunday evening unique handguns preferred with offenders. As a result, there was an overall forty-four percent decrease in the supply of newly trafficked guns to crooks in Milwaukee. (13)

In early 2006, a coalition of beyond fifty US mayors announced that they will combine to fight unlawful gun trafficking. (14) Just recently, New York City carried out stings of gun dealers located in a number of southern states, (15) based upon evidence that the bulk of the criminal offense guns found in New York Town were very first purchased from dealers away from state. (16) In these stings, many dealers were caught making illegal sales, and suits were brought against them by New York City. 2 of these complication dealers have actually concurred to settle the legal action by concurring to a special deal of brand-new sales practices and oversight produced to protect against illegal sales. (17) With all of this renewed attention, it is most likely that gun trafficking will definitely stay a vital issue for policy makers at the state and regional levels.

One prospective opportunity to lower the public wellness dangers connected with corrupt gun dealers is through licensing and oversight systems. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms issues federal dealer’s licenses. Unfortunately, federal laws regulating firearm dealers make it complicated to revoke the license of complication dealers, (18) and sources committed by ATF to firearm dealer oversight are modest. (19) As an outcome, very several firearm dealers face federal prosecution for breaching firearm sales laws. (20)

State licensing systems, nevertheless, are a considerably under-explored opportunity for firearm dealer oversight. When a state prefers to license its gun dealers, there is at least the option to enforce even more rigorous licensing and evaluation requirements than are mandated under federal law. Failure to comply lets the state to revoke a license should stay in online business. Licensing systems can easily likewise complement law enforcement efforts by offering an instant sanction– revocation of a license– when misconduct is determined.

But no peer-reviewed work reviews the several state licensing systems for firearm dealers. By recognizing and classifying these state systems, we recognize possibilities for states to intervene to protect against problem dealers from giving guns to offenders, juveniles, or gun traffickers.


We applied legal analysis methods to recognize the law of each state relating to the licensing and oversight of gun dealers. We utilized legal data sources such as Lexis and West Law to acquire the complete words of all state legislative codes concerning gun dealers. We even recognized any sort of relevant state administrative regulations with a combination of these exact same lists, state authorities web sites, and local law collections. Finally, we examined secondary sources that put together many of this details, including a yearly publication by the ATF, (21) and appropriate internet sites including the Legal Community Against Violence online. (22) The laws and procedures are existing with the end of the 2004 state legislative sessions. These laws change slowly, if at all, and we are unaware of any type of major modifications to dealer licensing laws since then.

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